Saturday, November 28, 2009

Why an Axe?

E just posed this question to me:  "Why does Stanford use an axe for the helmet sticker? That seems anti-tree".

The Stanford Axe  - an excerpt on it's history:

ORIGIN AND LOSS OF THE AXE


Part I

by Dink Templeton, Stanford '18
 
 
Understood to be figurative, the thousands of throats which hurl it across the field give ample assurance that a good bloody axe is just what they would choose as a weapon with which to wipe up the field and satisfy their feelings.


In my own college days I knew a lad with a flair for the dramatic who considered that he had been insulted by a fellow who was too big for him even to think of socking on the nose. So he went to him, stated that he had been insulted, and challenged him to a duel, just as they do in the storybooks. Big Boy was taken aback for an instant, for he know nought of duels, nor had he ever played around with pistols or foils. It was a situation which was both gravely serious and ludicrously funny to him.

After a slight pause he said, "I don't know much about this dual business. But as I understand it, as the challenged party, I have the right to choose the weapons. Is that not so?"

"That is your privilege, sir," return our hero.

"Well then, I choose axes," was the instant reply.

Challenger, overcome by abject horror, recoiled. The instant thought of this big bully beating down his guard by superior strength until he started raining blows upon his unprotected skull and battering it to a bloody pulp was too much for him. Covering his face with his hands, he turned and faded from the delighted circle of students who were the witnesses.

To him, as to all the rest of us, the axe was the most terrible of weapons. Even as an implement of domestic utility, we think of the axe, not as the great boon to the pioneers of old who forced back our frontiers with it, nor even as the instrument for labor torture with which we accomplished to tedious chore of chopping wood and kindling, but rather as the means for stopping the squawks of excited chickens by one clean blow which severed the head and covered the ground with spurting blood.

And the stark naked truth of the matter is simply this: the axe is the symbol which most accurately describes the subconscious feelings of those loyal to Stanford and to California.

It was one of the keenest minds ever produced at Stanford that reached out and put its finger unerringly on this feeling, and came through with the famous yell, "Give 'em the Axe!" Will Irwin, ex-'98, famous as an author and revered at Stanford as a cherished tradition, gave birth to that renowned yell in 1896, just five years after Stanford first opened her doors. He includes Chris Bradley as co-author. It sprang from the two naturally and spontaneously, fitting to the occasion, and expressing the feelings of limited warfare so exactly that it was destined to become the most lasting of all their works.

"Give 'em the axe, the axe, the axe!
Give 'em the axe, the axe, the axe!
Give 'em the axe, give 'em the axe, give 'em the axe,

Where?

"Right in the neck, the neck, the neck!
Right in the neck, the neck, the neck!
Right in the neck, right in the neck, right in the neck!

There!"

From the very start, that new yell, with the authors as yell-leaders, was a terrific success. It exactly expressed the feelings of the Farm toward those superior beings across the Bay.

And even though nothing else had actively occurred as a consequence, it would still have come down through these thirty-five years as the greatest of all Stanford battle cries.

But plenty else did happen, and as a direct consequence. What a chain of historic Stanford-California events, establishing tradition, building up and maintaining the keen rivalry between these two great universities, may be traced to that one short yell.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

THE Big Game

Sending Dollie love out to Stanford!!



Event: The 112th Big Game

Time: Saturday, November 21, 2009 6:00pm



Ladies and gentlemen of the Cardinal faithful,

The day approaches again when Stanford and California meet on the field in Palo Alto to contest the Axe. Neither the win-loss records of both teams or the opinions of pundits hold sway in the clash of eternal gridiron rivals, for the stories of Big Games are rife with upsets and shockers from both sides.

As you may have seen from the Stanford Alumni Association emails, we have changed our game-watching location to The Tavern, located at 922 W 12th St. in downtown Austin. Please note that although kickoff is at 6:30PM, we're asking you to show up a bit earlier because parking may become very scarce due to the high volume of UT fans who come to the Tavern (their kickoff is at 7PM; we'll have a head start).

Please make an effort t o come early enough to grab parking! We don't want you to miss out on any of the game due to parking issues.

If the season comes down to one game, this is that game. Wear Cardinal red, and bring your family and your friends (Stanford-affiliated or otherwise) to see what the resurgent Cardinal will bring to the field against a weakened but hungry Golden Bear squad.

Beat Cal!



When: 6PM (kickoff at 6:30PM), Saturday, Nov. 21st, 2009



Where: The Tavern, 922 W 12th St., Austin, Texas 78703

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hooray for Customer Service

Just got this email:

Dear Dionn,

Good news!

Although you originally ordered Standard (4 to 5 business days) shipping and handling, we have given your order special priority processing in our warehouse and are upgrading the shipping and delivery time frame for your order.Your order will ship out today and be given a special priority shipping status so that you can receive your order even faster than we originally promised!

Please note that this is being done at no additional cost to you. It is simply our way of saying thank you for being our customer.

The order has already been packed and we will be emailing you your tracking number later today, when our computer systems are finished processing all of today's transactions.

We are constantly striving to improve our service. If there is anything that we can do to help improve your experience, please don't hesitate to let us know. We like to think of ourselves as a service company that happens to sell shoes, clothing, and a whole bunch of other stuff!

If you've enjoyed your experience with us, please tell your friends and family about Zappos.com!

Thank you!

--------------------------------------------------------------
 
Well, they've just made themselves a return customer. And I got my running shoes ON SALE! YAY!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pictures and More from Perth

Today was kind of a busy day! Started with an easy run this morning that turned into something unexpected (see my post below).  Then met up with Suzanne and got our bikes finished being built and checked over by the team mechanics. (Logan - btw..they say don't take off the cassettes, but DO take off the deraileur..next time we know!)

Then we had some team business to take care of. Here's Suzanne and I hanging out at the team meeting:

We were sitting in the way back...but it was a great vantage point to check out the rest of Team USA!

And here's part of the Austin contigent: Glenda, Stephan, Suzanne and me!

(Clearly I've been spending too much time with my cheerleaders...look at my pose! Ready? OK!  oye.)

We learned lots of things at the team meeting, like how brutal the swim start was going to be. (Apparently, ITU event swim starts are (and I quote) "much, much worse than anything you've seen in the US"). Omg. I immediately start to freak out and then the girl next to me goes, "Yea -- and the women are WAY worse than the men!"

Great. That does it.  I'm starting at the way, way back far outside part of the pack.  I want nothing, I repeat, NOTHING to do with a brawl in the water.  Wanna take it outside to a bar or parking lot or something, then bring it...but in the water? PASS!

But the coolest thing was hearing the Team Coach talk about what an honor and priviledge we all have before us...something very few people will ever in their lifetime get a chance to do...and that is compete in the name of our country. He told us that no matter how we finish, he wanted us to remember that we are wearing the red, white and blue and to be proud of all that it has taken to get to this point. He also reminded us that as representatives of our country, he expects us to be model citizens, offer encouragement and support to our fellow competitors but most especially to our fellow teammates. Even if we don't know someone's name, yelling "GO USA" will go along way in lifting up a teammate.

And then he mentioned, "And if you feel like it, when you are coming down that finishing chute, go ahead and grab the American flag and run in with it."  Wow. How awesome would THAT be!!  I'd never even thought about having an opportunity to do that...but I guess, yea, being on Team USA..that's something I get a chance to do!

At this point, it was all I could do to refrain myself from jumping up and starting a cheer: "USA! USA! USA!"  How much of a dork am I? Wait...don't answer that. :P

After the team meeting, we had a chance to walkabout on our way to the team picture (I don't have a copy yet, but as soon as I do, I will post). Here are some shots of the city beginning with downtown Perth:

This tree is from the park where we took our picture...it just looked really cool to me, I'm not sure why.





Here I am in front of the finisher's chute...hopefully someone will hand me an Old Glory to run in with...since I'm going to be last in from the USA, they should have plenty of time to find one for me...sigh...



And what sport would be complete with out a resident jerk? Well, we've already found ours...it's this guy below. He's from New Zealand. He's apparently much better than anyone else at this event and does not feel the need to abide by even the mildest of manners. You, sir, win my "Jerk of the Night" award. Congrats. Ass. $20US says he busted for at least one penalty on Sunday. #jerkALERT




Fortunately, we also got a chance to meet some really, really cool team members.  This jacket below belongs to Barbara. Check out how many short and long course Duathlon and Triathlon World Championships she has competed in! AMAZING! 


How awesome is that!! Her earliest one is from the Olympic Distance Triathlon in Manchester, England in 1993!! This year alone she will have done Short and Long Course Triathlon (Gold Coast and Perth) and Short Course Duathlon (Concord, NC) World Championships. And you thought I was addicted? HELLO! I've got so much room to move now! ;)


Awesome day. So. ready. for bed.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hogwarts Triathlon!!!

So, I'm just about for a little morning run along the beautiful Swan River and upon my return as I approach the athletes village, I can see it is abuzz with activity.

Wow! I'm thinking. Everybody's up and at 'em at the village this morning, maybe I'll just swing through and see what's going on.

As I get closer, I hear lots of excited voices...but something's off.  These aren't the voices of adults...it's KIDS!  I look around and the place is teaming with children all dressed in brightly colored matching ensembles. There's a red team, a blue, a black, a yellow.  All sporting names and mascots and crests on their gear.

What what? They are chanting names, throwing high fives, taunting the other teams and gearing up...all yelling in their totally cute Australian accents and I can't help but think....OMG. I've landed at Hogwarts!

And then I remember! Oh yes! As part of the championship weekend, they have a Primary Schools triathlon!! How awesome is that!!!

I hustle down to the swim start just in time to see the first group heading off on their 200m swim.  I'm standing behind a blue team and they are excitedly talking about their guy (who apparently is in the lead). I hear comments like (imagine the appropriate accent here) "Wow. 200 meters. That's a really long way." "What would happen if all of a sudden four fins popped up in the water!" "That would be awesome!" "Yea..I'd bet they'd swim a lot faster then." "Let's go cheer him on when he comes running out!" "Yea!"

With that a whole gaggle runs off to the swim finish chute.

Then the bike portion begins. I'm seeing everything from a kid in a AERO helmet on a bianchi with race wheels! (I am not kidding here. Australians clearly take this tri business seriously) to kids on heavy BMX bikes with skater helmets and what look like skydiving goggles on! This is classic stuff.

At this point, I solemnly swear to never, ever, ever go running without my iPhone or camera again. Why oh WHY can I not be taking pictures of this great stuff! I'm so sorry my lone blog reader! I shall not fail you again. No. I shall not. Let it be written. Let it be done.

If I didn't need food and water, I would've stayed longer.  But I wanted to share this info with you because it is so cute and awesome!  I might grab my camera and head back down to see if the action is still going on. It is so Fantastic!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And just when you thought it was ending....



This arrives in my email inbox today:



Dear Dionn S,


This is to notify you that your entry into the 114th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 19, 2010 has been accepted.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
YAY!!!  So let's see..according to Team Rogue for Boston...training starts....November 3rd. OK...so that's 9 days of Off Season! Killer! Yay. wow. um...hmmmm....

Monday, October 19, 2009

EEEEK!

Swim Wave Times are posted!

To quote JD: "This sh*t just got real."

Wave Starts
Time Category Cap Color
1 07:45 Paratriathlete Pink
2 08:00 Elite Male White
3 08:05 Elite Female Fluro Pink
4 08:10 Male 35 - 39 Orange
5 08:13 Female 18 – 34 Female 45 – 79 Electric Blue
6 08:40 Female 35 - 44 Green
7 08:20 Male 18 – 29 Male 60 – 79 Fluro Yellow
8 08:25 Male 45-49 Fluro Green
9 08:30 Male 50-59 Fluro Orange
10 08:35 Male 30 – 34 Purple
11 08:45 Male 40 - 44 Red
This schedule is subject to changes

Second to last wave...at least I won't have to worry about too many people passing me...sigh...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Because sometimes just showing up...

...and finishing can have surprising results!

Look what email I just got!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Athlete,



Congratulations! You are being contacted because you have earned a spot on
Team USA for the 2010 Long Course Triathlon World Championships
because of your outstanding performance at the 2009 USAT Long Course Half Max National Championship. The 2010 World Championships are set to take place July 31-August 1, 2010 in Immenstadt, Germany. For more information about the World Championships please visit the Team USA website (www.teamusatriathlon.org).

Friday, September 25, 2009

EEEEEEK!!!

Just got this in my email this morning...




Yikes!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Typically Atypical -- (The Redman 70.3 Race Report)

I've come to just expect it at this point. Really. The chances of having just a regular normal race with no issues, what are they? 10%? 5%? Seriously.

So it really didn't come as a surprise while as everyone was in transition about 15 minutes before it closes, I felt the first, big fat drop of rain hit my shoulder.

I did the thing where you look around to see who or what just splashed you or where the water was coming from...and not until the next one landed on top of my head did it occur to me to look up..and there it was, in the still darkness of the morning...rain.

My fellow agegroupers and I simply stared at each other in disbelief as what began as few fat drops developed into a steady saturating downpour in just a matter of moments. Seriously? I was SO not prepared for rain. Cold? Yes. Rain? No. Well Damn.

Everyone began scrambling as we noticed that it wasn't going to subside in the near future. I turned my cycling and running shoes over so at least I wouldn't be stepping into a shoe filled with water, made sure my shot block and thermolyte baggies were zipped tight, then put my transition bag on top of the whole thing hoping that would keep most of the water off my shoes (which later proved to be a worthless endeavor....).

And then the temperature started to drop....and you know how I am with the cold. OYE! Fortunately, it was a wetsuit swim that day. And what better way to stay warm in cold water than to be in your wetsuit!!! So that proved to be an interesting activity...quick, EVERYONE, put on your wetsuit in the middle of a downpour..ready..GO! So. Humorous.

At this point, the rain had been coming down quite steadily and the transition area was literally turning into a lake. If your spot was one either end of the row, you were now completely underwater. And I mean, completely. If you were in the middle of the row, you too, were underwater. completely. under. water. I walked by one woman's transition set up..it was so sweet...she had her towel laid out all nicely (now completely drenched) and 4 orange shot blocks set equidistantly apart and centered horizontally at the top of the towel...these were now gelatineous blobs of orange disappearing into her towel...and her salt tab? down to about the size of a dime...that was going to suck for her.

As the racers huddled together draped in trashbags over their wetsuits, the first official announcement came: "Due to the inclement weather, we are considering changing the format of the race to a SWIM, RUN, SWIM. We will make a decision shortly."

That's right. A Swim, run, Swim. With Wetsuits. Everyone started cracking up. Seriously, have you seen how long it takes me to get into my wetsuit? And that's when I..and it..are dry and we aren't in a hurry. My T2 was going to be like 25 minutes! Seriously? We waited on...

After an hour delay (everyone's nutrition was so screwed and people really, really had to pee), the final announcement came. "Even though the rain has stopped (temporarily) there is standing water on the bike course." Groans throughout the crowd, heads drop, shoulders sag. I felt so bad for the full ironman athletes that were there today. Having trained for 6 months for this day only to have it turned into some ridiculous Splash-Dash-Splash or something.... "However," everyone's heads perked back up, "we WILL hold the full race as planned!" Cheers erupt, high fives and a few chest bumps go around. "BUT.." dramatic pause as you hear the intake of breath by several hundred triathlete bodies, "there will be a MANDATORY bike dismount at Mile 6 where you will then walk through up to 100 feet of standing water before mounting on the other side."

Huh? Well, sure....why not?? Let's get all cyclo-cross/xterra with it. Cool!

And so the race began...finally!

The swim course was a counter-clockwise oval that ran parallel and so close to the shoreline that you could, in fact, run the entire length of the oval and then swimming out for the turnaround. Some of the men in the wave ahead of us actually did just that. And yes, they kept pace with the fastest swimmers..at least until the turn.

I chose to stick with the spirit of the race and actually swim the swim part. I was in NO danger of breaking any records and making any podiums today, so I would use the race and all of its offerings to get a good bead on where I was in my half-iron capabilities this day.

I had no issue with the water temp (surprise! yay! CdA will do that to ya...) and so I was free to focus on having a good swim. In the last couple weeks, I have finally figured out that you are actually supposed to ROLL from side to side while swimming in your wetsuit. A fact that has somehow escaped me until recently. (I know, I know.)
I simply touch, pull, rolled my way around the 1.2 mile swim course. And go figure, I ended up with an awesome swim for me! My and my coaches goal was a 35:00 minute swim. Lo and Behold, I came out at 33:48! That's a 1:46 pace! (Exact same as my podium-placing swim at Jack's Generic - sprint distance and compared to my last half-iron swim pace of 2:56..let's not talk about it...and my best half-iron swim pace (excluding the short longhorn course last year) of 1:51) Suhweet!! I'll take it!

Then it was off to the bike in good spirits! YAY! Turns out my long ride in the rain the previous Friday was excellent practice for this day. It drizzled and rained pretty much the whole time I was out there. I remembered how easy it was to forget to stay on top of hydration when the temps are cooler, so I made sure I was drinking plenty of fluids. Even so, I ended up taking 4 extra thermolytes throughout the bike as several times I heard my calves trying to talk to me and I said, "oh no you don't. Not today...I don't want to hear shit from you. Have this thermolyte and shut the hell up." And they did. (ALL HAIL THERMOLYTES!)

The ride was adventurous. There was the mile 6 dismount/cyclo-cross run through the grass and water with your bike craziness and the riding through puddles and having your wheel slip sideways into a crevice and then pop back out which left me thinking "wow..that could've been really, really bad." And then there was the snippy set of men that came pacelining past me around mile 12 yelling "on your left..ON YOUR LEFT!" when there was no where right for me to go because I didn't want to ride through a tremendous puddle! I kept thinking "Look...don't get all pissy with me just because I passed you in the water and you had a 6 minute headstart on me......Ass."

And then about 6 reasons dawned on my why I don't want to turn 40....and they all flew and I mean FLEW passed me on the bike like I was standing still. Holy smokes, the master ladies are F-AST!!!

My goal was 3 hours on the bike...at the turn around I checked my time and I was behind. Holy crap! I thought to myself, I need to giddyap and quit lollygagging around out here! But then again, that did include the dismount/cyclo-cross craziness at mile 6..which was kinda fun actually...

I managed to pull it together and bring it home in 3:03:16 (including a bathroom pit stop). Sweet! I'll take it!

And then the run. Oh boy. I just had zero legs...and I mean zero. I was slogging my brain trying to figure out why I had no go power for the run. My nutrition was on, my hydration was on. I took some extra Gu and Thermolytes to see if that would help, but alas, no power to be found. I succumbed to a run-walk strategy (and two potty stops) that brought my run time in at 2:13:13. No where near my best time, nor my goal of 1:50. Well dang it. Two out of Three ain't bad I suppose.

And then I thought about it some more. Well, let's see, I've done two runs over 9 miles twice since CdA. That's right, twice. Since June. Yes, I've been focusing on the short and fast stuff (which worked out very well for the sprint races thank you very much) but I most definitely neglected the long runs and I paid the price for it this day.

Fortunately, I've got one more shot at bringing it all together in another month or so. I am officially rededicating myself to getting in my higher mileage days and long runs (probably good ramp up for Boston base work anyway..)! Let it be written, let it be done!!!

So if you need to run long...CALL ME!!!!!!

MEND Childhood Obesity Intervention Program

It always amazes me that this problem even exists in our country as I think about children in some other countries who don't even have clean water. Nonetheless,it is a serious problem that MUST be addressed.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MEND Childhood Obesity Intervention Program
Seeking qualified participants for free program

The YMCA of Austin will be the first YMCA in the country to partner with MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do It!) in offering a childhood obesity intervention program for children and their parents.

Through a generous grant from the St. David's Foundation, the YMCA will be offering nine programs over the next year at four different facilities. Each program will last 10 weeks and meet twice per week (Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings). Parents must attend with their child.

MEND combines three key elements of safe, effective weight management and sustained lifestyle change: healthy eating, regular physical activity, and behavior change. Children and families who attend the MEND Program learn important skills and knowledge to help them manage their weight and feel fitter, healthier, and happier for the rest of their lives. The United Kingdom-based program has already achieved dramatic success in Britain and Australia.

We are currently taking registrations for this free program. The first session begins Saturday, Oct. 3, with additional sessions to follow. Children must be ages 8 - 12 and overweight or obese and may not be suffering from asthma or diabetes. One parent must be able to participate with their child in each session.

If you are interested in enrolling at the TownLake YMCA, please contact Jason Daniel at 542-9622 or jdaniel@austinymca.org.

If you are interested in enrolling at the East Communities YMCA, please contact Alejandra Gonzalez at 346-6163 or alejandra.b.gonzalez@uth.tmc.edu.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Women's Health Issue

This just in from a girlfriend as we prepare for our week of debauchery in Mexico:

Important Women's Health Issue:

Do you have feelings of inadequacy? Do you suffer from shyness?

Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive?


If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or

pharmacist about Margaritas.


Margaritas are the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident

about yourself and your actions.


Margaritas can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell the

world that you're ready and willing to do just about anything.


You will notice the benefits of Margaritas almost immediately and with
a regimen of regular doses you can overcome any obstacles that prevent
you from living the life you want to live.


Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past and you will
discover many talents you never knew you had. Stop hiding and start living, with Margaritas.


Margaritas may not be right for everyone. Women who are pregnant or

nursing should not use Margaritas. However, women who wouldn't mind

nursing or becoming pregnant are encouraged to try them.

Side effects may include: Dizziness, nausea, vomiting, incarceration,

loss of motor control, loss of money, loss of clothing, table dancing, headache, dehydration, dry mouth and a desire to sing Karaoke.



WARNING:

The consumption of Margaritas may make you think you are whispering
when you are not. The consumption of Margaritas may cause you to tell your
friends over and over again that you love them. The consumption of
Margaritas may cause you to think you can sing. The consumption of
Margaritas may make you think you can logically converse with members
of the opposite sex without spitting.

Please share this with other women who may need Margaritas.
Thank you!

Friday, August 7, 2009

What I Love About...

Austin is at 5:45am on a Friday morning, the Barton Springs' parking lot is PACKED!

There are people getting ready to run, cyclists pumping up tires getting ready to roll and swimmers donning wetsuits, flippers, paddles, kickboards, caps and goggles and jumping in.

Way to be fit and fun Austin. Keep it up!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Anything BUT Generic - My Tri Race Report

Jack's Generic - one of my all time favorite races. I've been doing this one since 2005. And every year I have a BLAST!


This year, however, the morning began auspiciously....as I was headed down toward the Ski Ranch, I was trying to mentally prepare for the race. I'd had a lot of distractions leading up to it, so I didn't have time to work through some positive visualization and mental readiness like I should have. The last time I didn't do this....well, the results from Galveston speak for themselves. oye.


So I'm driving along visualizing the course and being on autopilot to the Ski Ranch. Well, so I thought. I snap to and realize I've just exited 360 south onto Mopac South.?? WTH? I should be heading straight through Ben White to I-35! Hasty mental moment and I decide to just take a left on 290, head back north to 360/Ben White. I'm freaking out a little, checking the clock -- don't want to be late and have to walk a bizillion miles from parking to the race. Look up, see the exit for 360. Perfect. Take that. Then realize...hey, I should be up there on the fly over to.... DOH! Dammit D. You wanted to go Ben White/290 East NOT 360. GRRRRRR!


On to the access road and finally pop back up onto Ben White headed to I35. Sheesh.


I arrive at the Ski Ranch, only to find the close parking lot full and have to schlep to the back lot. Oh well...there goes that plan for this morning. I pull in park and start getting my stuff together. Start pumping my tires. Front tire. Full. Back tire -- hmmm, I just rode this yesterday, why is it missing so much air....hmmm...load the pump on it. With each depression of the handle, I hear "Hissssss", "Hisssss". Wait...that doesn't sound quite right. I lean in a little closer without moving the pump and still hear "Hissssssssssssssssssssssssss". Aw damn...a hole in my tire. Strike 2 on the morning. This does not bode well.


To compound matters, I saw my two closest age group competitors where racing also! Good grief, I was going to have bring my "A" game or get taken down. Dang it. I had to really, really get my act together and fast.


I made sure to follow the rest of my standard pre-race procedures to the "T" to avoid any other mishaps. I even did a warm up run and swim. Some of my teammates gave me the "what's up with you look?" as I'm usually pretty jovial and peppy pre-race (shocker, I know), but this morning I was nervous and it showed.


The other waves started going off and I made my way into the starting gates with the rest of the 35-39 year old ladies. I knew it was going to come down to wire this day, so every second was going to count. I lined up, not in my usual spot, but closer to the middle, but in the front row. As we waited I saw Ms. Lord appear on my far right, Kristen just to the right of me and Michelle P. off to my left. Kristin is a faster swimmer than I and Michelle, Tracy and I are all pretty much the same. I figured if I can get on Kristin's feet and keep and eye on Michelle since she's on my left, I would be in the lead group coming out of the water. That was the plan and off we went.


We all went pretty hard out of the gate and there was some other girl who was out in front of the three of us. She had some serious speed going and I knew I couldn't catch her, so I settled in and tried to keep pace with Kristin. Before I knew it, we were rounding the first buouy and headed into traffic already! I had to take evasive maneuvers and ended up losing Kristin in the melee..although I could still see her. Michelle also got hung up in the mix and dropped back a bit. I moved around and ended swimming parallel to Kristin but about a body length or so behind her. I tried my best to keep up and ended up having a great swim. Kristin went 8:57.7, I went 8:59.2. That's the closest I've ever been to her.


We smiled and hustled our way up into transition with Michelle appearing just a couple seconds behind us. Man, this game was ON today! We all laughed as we made quick transitions and pretty much headed out of T1 as a group. And just as we were pulling away from the rack, I saw Ms. Lord heading to her bike. Now, she typically can hawk me down on the bike, so I knew I didn't have any time to spare. We hit the mount line, jumped on our bikes and flew like bats out of hell onto the bike course.


I pretty much knew I was going to have to go hard with no slacking and have everything go right in order to keep those girls behind me. On the bike my toughest competitors would be Tracy and Michelle. I figured if I could keep them behind me or close on the flats, I'd be ready to really go for it once we hit the hills. (I'm a goat. I. Love. Hills.) So, I just kept charging away. Really concentrating on my pedal stroke and making good ovals...really working the hip flexors and not just mashing on the pedals.


I did get passed by a 40+ year old woman with a disc wheel. Gosh...she was moving. And I got passed by a 20-something (to which I quietly retorted...Oh yea? Have two kids and THEN come race with me!). But other than that, I was steadly moving and making good head way. Of course I couldn't look behind me at any point to see where the girls were, but my spidey sense tingled like they were right there the whole time.


As I was pushing it hard, I was thinking....man, and now the runners are going to come and run me down...and then I said, wait a damn minute...I'M A RUNNER...I'm not going to get run down today, my friend. Not. To.day.


I was first out of my little group into T2. I arrived at our racks and saw one bike there. Dang, that girl is fast! I haven't seen her once since she beat us like crazy out of the water. (26 seconds faster than me out of the water...there's that damn number again. ARGH!). I'm gonna have to see if I can run her down.


After a quick T2, I head out on the run. Quick feet, quick feet. Turnover. Turnover. That's my mantra for the run. My marathon gait is long and steady. I didn't want that today. I wanted cute little chipmunk strides. Short. Fast. Turning the legs over quick. Hot coals. Go. Go.


It was so awesome have Team T3 out there yelling and cheering as you head out on the run. Everyone's here Dionn..better get moving and look good doing it. Move it, MOVE IT! I headed out onto the course and tried to keep fast thoughts.


ABC. A - Always, B-Be, C-Closing, Always Be Closing. ABC. A - Always, B-Be, C-Closing, Always Be Closing. And then: Quick feet. Quick feet. Turnover. Turnover. I just kept switching between the two. Picking my feet up and putting them down and passing a good many folks.


At the turn around, I started my usual process of watching the other runners on the other side. Yes, I was looking for someone in particular...someones actually...Tracy and Michelle. I saw Tracy first and she wasn't that far behind me. Dang. I'd better giddyap!!! She's coming after me! I picked it up a little more and fell into pace with a guy #687 and basically mentally attached myself to him. He and I took turns pulling each other through the last mile and a half. It was awesome...both of us working hard, pushing each other to keep going. In between gasping breaths he told me it was his first tri...I tried to respond and tell him awesome! It came out quite breathy!


We crested the hill, rounded the corner and headed for the finish. I could see and hear the T3ers along the finishing chute yelling and cheering it was awesome! I took one quick peek behind me, I didn't want to get taken down in the last couple hundred meters or so and it looked clear to me!


I relaxed into a nice, long up tempo stride and headed on home!


I had no idea what my time was because after the swim instead of hitting the lap button, I hit the stop button on my watch...so I was clueless. I never caught up to anyone else in my age group, so I figured the girl whose bike was on the rack when I got there was very speedy and I wouldn't have stood a chance catching her anyway. And mentally gave the mystery woman a bow.


So unless I had missed someones bike in transition, I felt pretty good about locking down second place. It was what I placed last year and was happy to have it again. Post-race, I futzed around with the team, got worked over by Dr. Laurie (in that good but painful kinda way we love her for) and chatted with everyone while we watched the rest of the finishers..


I didn't bother going to look at the results, because either way, I felt pretty good about how I raced. I went hard and felt like I left what I had out on the course...and that to me meant a successful day at a tri.


But then I was curious about my run pace, because I really wanted to see if my speed has come back and I definitely felt like I had run harder this time than most recently at Couples and the Rookie. As I was making my way to find the results, a cheeky Elizabeth stopped me and asked if I was staying for awards and I said yes and she said with a smile in her eyes, "Good, because I think you Won!"


"What?"


"Yep, first place!"


"That can't be...there was another bike...another girl, somewhere..." my mind start reeling..


"Well, I don't know...but that's what it said next to your name!" she said excitedly! I squealed, "REALLY?!" "Uh huh!"


And then I had butterflies again. 1st place? I've never won my age group before....how cool would THAT be????? Could it be that someone but their bike on the wrong rack? Did I pass her on the run and not notice?? Could it be..could it be?


When Logan started announcing my age group, I was flat out giddy. "In third place, Michelle Parkins!" I gave her a high five as she went up. "In second place," I held my breath", "Tracy Lord!" I looked around, I didn't see Tracy anywhere...that was odd. "And in first place, MY GIRL, DIONNNNNNNNN SCHAFFFNER!!!" YEEAAAAA!!! I squealed and jump in place! And then hustled on to the podium to accept my award! We snapped some pictures and then I hopped down.


About a half a minute after getting some great hugs and congrats from the team, I see Tracy walking by..."Tracy! You got second! Go get it, go get it!!" She smiled and went over and got her hardware from Stacey. We congratulated each other on another hard day and she asked me if I would wait and get a picture with her if we could find a Kreutz photographer. And of course I agreed! At the end of the awards ceremony, we grabbed a guy and had him snap a couple of us together with our hardware it was awesome. From Porter Jr. High in the 80's, to podiums at Tri's in the 2000's....that's just plain cool, people.


Final stats:

Swim: 8:59.2 (Pace 1:48/100M) - AG Rank: 3

Bike: 43:52 (Pace 18.9mph) - AG Rank: 1

Run: 22:34 (Pace 7:31/M) - AG Rank: 3


Age Group Rank: 1

Gender Rank: 11


A good day out at the ranch.


OH -- and for Mike:



Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Getting Back into the Speed of Things

So, I've recently begun working out with Carmen to try to wrangle some speed back into my legs after all the long, slow distance I've been doing over the last year for Boston and Ironman training.

This morning we had 800m repeats on the Barton Springs loop at "cruise" speed. (See Mr. McMillan). For me, that should be about a 7:14/M pace.

Here's how my paces went down:

#1 - 7:11/M (not too bad..considering 2nd 400 is uphill)
#2 - 6:43/M (love the downhills!)
#3 - 7:01/M (getting after it...)
#4 - 6:40/M (get you some, D!)
#5 - 7:25/M (hmmm...think I used too much that last time)
#6 - 7:05/M (finish strong! YES!)

All in all, a good morning, I felt. Maybe the legs are coming back a little....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

And 1

Just went up a notch in the "my mom's the coolest mom ever" book by Shay and Devon. They are watching a movie on Disney, "The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl". Shay comes down and says, "Hey mom, George Lopez is in the movie that we are watching!" To which I respond, "Well you know, Mommy has met him in person. And I even have a picture with him."

"What?!" Shay said in disbelief.

"Yep...wanna see?" I reply.

"YES!"

I then went to the following blog post http://txtrimom.blogspot.com/2008/02/live-from-austin.html that has the picture in it.

Both he and Devon were thoroughly impressed.

It's nice to get it right with the kids sometimes.....

And for more fun, check out: http://txtrimom.blogspot.com/2008/02/obama.html where Erin and I had an upclose encounter with the then Presidential Candidate B. Obama!

Cuz that's how we roll....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ironman Coeur d'Alene: Race Report

Wow. I mean really, just wow. What an AMAZING day and experience that was. Simply incredible.

2.4 mile swim. 112 mile bike. 26.2 mile run.

Holy. Shit.

I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT!!!

And I could not have done it with out the support, training, love and inspiration from my family, teammates, sherpas, cheerleaders and coaches who were out in FULL force physically at the race and virtually all over the US. Seriously, you guys are amazing!! I cannot begin to describe the amount of sheer will and energy you all provided during this race for me. It was the epitome of Team Effort. Although triathlon is an individual sport, I craved a team atmosphere..and you guys delivered. Hands down. I Love you guys!!!

And here's how it all went down.....

The Swim:

As you well know, my biggest concern about this race was the swim. Cold water and I, historically, have not done well. Throw in another 2,000+ people starting at the same time and I've got legitimate concerns on my hands (and feet). Fortunately, I've been training for cold water since February and the temperature gods smiled upon us this day and warmed the waters to a respectable 65 degrees (compared to last year's 59. oye). Additionally, I was able to practice on the swim course twice before race day. Very key. My plan was this... start on the far right hand edge and when the cannon goes off, do nothing. That's right. nothing. Just wait. Wait until the bulk of the people take off.


There was a group of similarly paced T3ers who were going to start together and although this would be an awesome place to start, swim with and draft off of, I knew it wasn't the right strategy for me. Trying to keep pace with someone else takes me out of my game...and for this swim, I needed my A game..nothing less would pull me through.


So as we entered the beach, I waved goodbye to my teammates and sauntered off to the right...alone. Ironic given that I love being with my team..but this part, I knew I must do alone. Since it takes me about 2 minutes to go through my cold water routine, I figured I'd just get in the water before the race starts and get the process going. This turned out to be a GREAT plan! Then about 45 seconds before the start, I got back out of the water and wiggled my way to the middle/back of the pack.


The gun went off. I started my watch. The first several rows of people went running/diving/careening into the water. I waited. It only took about 10 seconds for them to be off the beach. I waded back into the water, finished my cold water routine and was ready to swim. Looked at my watch, only 30 seconds had passed. Cool!! I wasn't giving them that big of a head start. YAY! And off I went.


And guess what? It wasn't bad at all!!! Well, it was really wavy and choppy, but the nice thing about waves is that they are rhythmic. And I'm all about the rhythm. I just settled into a very calm stroke, timing my breathing with the waves so I wasn't trying to take in air when I went crashing through a wave. It worked wonderfully!! I stayed on the far outside edge -- mentally thinking I had an escape route if it started getting crowded--and just swam. Before I knew it, I was rounding the first turn and thinking...hey...I just might survive this thing afterall!


Came through the first loop, hit the timing mat, checked my watch, 42 minutes. Slower than I usually swim, but hell, I'm alive, I haven't panicked, so I'll take it! Back into the water and ran into Val who gave me some great encouragement (as we stood there taking care of business..because dammit, I just can't pee while I swim!). Charged into the second loop with fervor and confidence and really went after my swim. I felt like I picked up the pace and even swam next to the buoys, battling it out with the rest of the folks. (It actually wasn't that bad at this point because it had thinned out alot). It was very empowering to be keeping up (and passing guys in their red caps)! I was totally hearing the Ironman song the play on the videos and thinking, "Hey...look at me! I'm swimming like an Ironman! WOO HOO!"


Came out of the water from the second loop, looked at my watch 1:29. Huh? How was that slower than the first time? I was swimming so much faster...I thought. Then my mind cleared and I said, "Who the hell cares?" (Ok..it was probably an F-bomb.) "I'm out of the freakin' water!!! This race is as good as DONE!" Even though I had a very, very long day ahead of me, I had NO doubts whatsoever at that point that I was going to finish this race and become and Ironman. I seriously couldn't have been more confident then I was at that moment....and that set the stage for a wonderful and fantastic day. I smiled and waved to all the folks yelling my name as I headed towards transition. I couldn't really see individual faces, but I could her voices and everyone cheering and yelling. Yay, yay, YAY!!!!!


Hiccup #1: Although I felt on top of the world, apparently I didn't look it. After getting my wetsuit stripped off me, I was summarily directed to the Medical tent. I was like "what the hell is going on..". The nice volunteer medical person gently, but firmly ushered me towards the medical warming hut and calmly asked me for my number. "Uh, 2289?" I replied. "Do you want to go on?" she asked. "HUH?" I said. "Do you want to keep racing?"


I started thinking. Lord, what the hell? Am I cut? Am I bleeding? Am I missing an appendage? What? What? I do a quick glance over my body and see that in fact everything is as it should be. "Yes, YES! I want to keep going!!" I say. "Ok, then we'll get your swim to bike bag and you can get changed in here." she replies.


And then I looked over at the only other inhabitant of the hut. It was another woman. She must've weighed all of 80 pounds..soaking wet...if weighed while wearing her wetsuit. She was huddled next to the huge heater that was blasting hot air at such a rate that my hair was no longer wet and my eyes were beginning to itch because they were getting so dry. She was wrapped in mylar blankets and just sat there, with all her bags by her feet. She was pale. Her lips were blue. She looked defeated. She clearly, was NOT going on.


Wow. If she looks like that and she's here. What the hell do I look like that landed me here? Just then the friendly volunteer reappeared with my transition bag and I shimmied out of my (now dry) bathing suit and dressed in warm toasty-ness into my bike gear. She helped me get dressed and put my swim stuff back into my bag. She looked me over from head to toe and I kept thinking, this is the biggest test of my life right here. I've trained hard for 6 months in the pool, on the bike, and on the road..any of those tests I can pass. This one I didn't prepare for ...please lord, let me pass, LET ME PASS. Let. Me. Pass!


I then I heard four magical and glorious words, "OK, You can go." "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I screamed. I think I hugged her. I may have even kissed her, I'm not sure..I busted out of there and headed off to grab my bike.


Phew!!! Transition 1 time: 13 minutes!!


The Bike:

As obvious from the pictures of me on the bike route (to be posted later), you will see me with a HUGE grin on my face. I was so ecstatic to have survived the swim and cleared medical, I couldn't stand it!!!


I proceeded to have the most wonderful ride ever! First of all, time on the computrainer paid MASSIVE dividends!!!! I was uber-prepared for each and every hill. Hands down. Coupled with the fact that in my mind, I'm a goat and I LOVE hills and I was just going at a nice steady (not racing by any stretch) pace....the course was fantastic. I had dressed warmly enough (full fingered gloves even) that the temps were perfect. And with all the out and backs, I got to see SO MANY of my teammates riding and cheering along the course. You seriously couldn't go more than 5 minutes without seeing somebody! It was AWESOME!


And although my bike computer stopped working after 35 minutes into the ride (I figured this was a sign to not worry about my speed), I used my wrist watch to keep on top of my nutrition which worked fabulously! There were times when I started to feel a little light headed, but I would simply get some more to eat and within moments I was back to being squared away. Also, since I've had such VAST experience with cramping, I became highly adept at noticing when the little tickles of impending cramps started appearing. Quickly taking some extra Thermolytes solved those issues and kept any and all cramps at bay.


I ended up playing leap frog with Val (who had done the computrainer 10 times!!) for most of the ride. Me passing her on the ups, she overtaking me on the downs and the flats. Classic and fun! Even got to see Erin a couple times when she went flying by me the other way! YAY E!!


Hiccup #2: So, at mile 40 I decide to take my first bathroom break. I was fortunate to find a potty stop where there was no one in line. SCORE!! I clip out with my right foot, come to a nice stop in front of a volunteer who is waiting to hold my bike while I potty. (Talk about service, right??) But I can't seem to get my left foot out. Hmmm. With some force, I manage to free it and go about my business. Upon my return, I can't, for the life of me, get my left cleat back on to the pedal. I check out my shoe to make sure I haven't picked up any rocks, dirt or debris in there, I check the pedal...everything looks good. I try again. And again. And again. No luck. Then I try harder. and harder. and HARDER. I'm literally jumping with all my force on my left side trying to get my cleat in. I'm pulling up on the handle bars so hard, that I'm afraid I'm going to break them! Shit, shit, SHIT!!!!


Ok, now what. I think to myself. Just get on and ride, you are wasting too much time here. Maybe you can work on it while your riding. So that's what I do. I clip in on the right and pedal away with my left shoe pedalling on top of the pedal, not clipped in. On every flat or descent I tried to wiggle, press, push, cajole my cleat onto the pedal. No dice.


Ok, now what. Let's just keep going until we can find a bike mechanic. Maybe it just needs a little lube. Ok, let's go with that plan. Pedal, pedal, pedal.


Finally, just after the special needs pick up (mile 60ish?), there was a mechanic stopped who was just finishing up changing a tire for another rider. I stopped and asked for some lube and told him the problem. He found some and squirted on my cleat and the pedal. I tried clipping in. No go. We tried together...him placing my foot exactly where is should go, me stomping on it as hard as I could. Still no dice. Dammit, dammit, dammit.


He flipped my foot over and examined my cleat and simply shook his head. "Wow, this cleat looks shot." "What?!!!" I never even thought to check my cleats before the race. Damn rookie. He tried bending it, scraping some dirt, but to no avail. I couldn't get clipped back in.

Ok, now what. "Well," I looked at the bike tech. "I've got one cleat that works. Guess that's gonna have to do it today." He said, "Yep." And off I went. With only my right foot clipped in. And damn if my left foot isn't the stronger one. Oh well, all this remaining work with just the right side might bring those into balance after today. Here we go.

And so I rode 72 miles with only one leg clipped in. It is the Ironman afterall. Aren't these type of things supposed to happen?

Hiccup #3: Also during the bike ride, I had an unexpected surprise. As I was entering town after the first loop, I'm just pedalling along, looking at all the folks, waving, smiling...when out of the midst of 1,000 screaming voices, I hear something that has a direct line to my soul. It has the ability to silence any and all other sounds instantaneously. It makes everything else fade hazily into the background as every fiber of my heart and my soul quiver and hone into the source of the sound. A simple sound. A simple word. But packing the power of a thousands suns:


"Mommy!!"


Time slows, I glance over to my right...and there, amongst the spectators, two beaming faces with expectant and excited eyes. Smiling, waving energetically with all the power their little 4 and 8 year old bodies can muster, my boys were there. In Coeur d'Alene. At the race. Cheering. For me! They were supposed to be at home. In Austin. But here they were!


Scott was standing with a huge grin on his face, hoisting Devon higher so he could see me better as I flew by on my bike. I could tell he was proud of me and proud of pulling off one of the most amazing and much appreciated stunts I've ever witnessed...spiriting my family to the race...without me every knowing they were coming! Shay was smiling brightly, snuggled in my Boston Marathon sweatshirt to boot!


I waved frantically, hysterical with surprise, excitement and joy back at them! "Hi, Hi, HI!" I'm sure I was riding quite erradictly at that point. Only one foot clipped in and only one hand on the bike..recipe for sure disaster, so I quickly put my hand back down on my bike and pedalled on!


Of course I automatically switched into "Mom" mode and started thinking "wait..who's taking care of the dogs? What are they wearing? It's going to get cold. And rain! Do they have ponchos? An umbrella? What are they going to do for the next several hours until I see them again? Did Scott pack enough snacks for them?" It went on and on for about what seemed like 5 minutes until I snapped back. "Chill, D. There's nothing you can do about any of that. Scott's got this under control. Clearly." And then I went back to thinking how awesomely cool it was and thankful I was that they were here and would get to be a part of this wonderful experience and how I wanted them to be proud and show my boys that: Yes. You CAN do anything you set your mind to doing. Any. Thing.


The Run

The run was quite uneventful, thankfully. It did get cold. And rainy. And windy. But I was well prepared...physically and mentally. While training for Boston this past winter, I ran with Team Rogue in conditions 10 times worse. And often. This weather was no big deal. I was dressed appropriately, complete with arm warmers and running gloves. I followed instructions and kept running through Mile 16. At that point, I knew I had this thing in the bag. I slowed down. Walked when I felt like it. Drank warm chicken broth at the aid stations. Made bathroom stops at will. Chatted with teammates (Elizabeth was awesome to run and walk with down by the lake!). Ran into old friends from college (Hello Matt!). Cheered on everyone I could see.


Several times, especially during the second loop, I started choking up. I couldn't believe it. I WAS going to finish this thing. I WAS going to become an Ironman. This Day. I was going to hear him call my name at the finish and I was going to love it!


I turned the final corner and glanced down the street. You could see the grandstands, the lights, the finishing chute. All there just waiting to embrace me. You could hear the cheers from the people and it gave me goosebumps. I picked up my pace and finally let go the tears that had been threatening to come..for 14 hours. I just let them go and went crying, running through the finishing chute, unable to focus through the tears but clearly making out the glorious sound of


"Dionn Schaffner! You. Are. An IRONMAN!"


The crowd erupts once more! I cross the line..hands held high in victory, astonishment, amazement, pride. Yes. Yes. YES! I did it! I really, really DID IT!


Then I exit stage left, crying into my hands like a little girl. But dammit, I didn't care. I'm an IRONMAN!


Swim: 1:29:41
Bike: 7:12:38
Run: 5:05:02

Final time: 14:07:38

As they say, an Ironman is not just about the race, it is about the journey. And what a journey it has been for me. All the friendships made, bonds created, lessons learned – sometimes the hard way, obstacles faced and fears overcome…this is all a part of me now. I am truly forever changed by this experience. Ironman is about perseverance, endurance – mental and physical, being inspired and inspiring others, challenging yourself to dream and dream big.

Have no doubt, I will be back to toe the line again. For this is a journey that I’m sure no many how many times I embark, will always deliver something different, something valuable, something wonderful.

There’s an Ironman in all of us. It may not be in the form of a triathlon, but it is out there, somewhere. Don’t be afraid to find yours. I promise you, you won’t regret it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ironman Coeur d'Alene: Tomorrow

I can't believe in less than 12 hours, I will be on the culminating step of becoming an Ironman!

I've excited and nervous and excited and nervous!!!

Today was the last day of preparation and was quite a busy morning. It began with a final ride (to make sure the bike was working properly) down the GORGEOUS Centennial Trail with my partners in Crime, Erin, Ebot and Dbot. It is light quite early here, so we rode in the bright morning at 6am!


Next came the "Packing of the Bags". Seriously...this is an arduous task. 5 bags. Yes, that's right 5. And you know how much I LOVE packing. Ugh.


Then we headed down to the race site for my last pre-race swim. Needed one more dip in the lake to work through water issues. This time it took me MUCH LESS time to actually start swimming than before!! I just took my time, did my cold water ritual and was good to go. I bet it took less than a minute for me to stand there and collect myself. Guess what...I'll take it!!

And then the bots wanted to swim too

but I said, No -- because there wasn't a lifeguard on duty. And they aren't very strong swimmers...they kinda just sink...like blocks.

Then it was off to check in the bikes and bags. We are racked by number (By age group, by age, then alphabetically...). And it even has our name on the rack!! (May seem like a small detail, but I thought it was really cool!)


Then it was off to do our interviews for the team DVD that T3 is having made of our trip. I think it is going to turn out great!!! Well, at least the interviews will be good for a laugh or two.

And then it was time for lunch! Yes..all of that..before lunch! OYE!!

The rest of the day has been spent relaxing, chilling with friends and coaches, going on the rollercoaster of Ironman emotions, hydrating, stretching and trying to tame the butterflies in my tummy.

There is nothing left to do at this point except go out and enjoy the day tomorrow. The calls, emails, notes, flowers, gifts and well-wishes I've received have been heaven sent. Each of you has supported me in ways you many never fully know and I humbly say Thank you for letting me a part of your life as you are a part of mine. It is your kindness, thoughtfulness, understanding, instruction, compassion, empathy and love that have brought me to this point.

Tonight, I go to bed Dionn Michelle Schaffner. Tomorrow, I plan on going to bed: Dionn Michelle Schaffner, Ironman.

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Tracking

Ok People…. I am here and ready or not, this race is going to happen on Sunday!!!! EEEEEEEEKKKKKKK!

The race starts Sunday morning (west coast time zone) at 7:00am for us non-professionals. So that’s 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running..on Sunday. Just. Sunday.

You can track me a couple ways:

1. http://ironman.com/ironmanlive - This (should) have the live video feed of the day, plus you can search for me to get my splits. I’m number 2289.

2. http://ironplan.net/events/ironman-couer-d-alene-2009/ - One of our teammates set this up and it will be tracking results for our entire team!

3. Twitter – Follow me on twitter, I’m dmschaffner . Twitter will be broadcasting my splits whenever they get recorded. So if you want them real-time pushed to your phone or something, here are the instructions to make that work:

WARNING: turn on the device updates on Friday/Saturday and turn them off on Monday morning. Else, you will receive all tweets from the athlete!

1. Sign up for twitter at: https://twitter.com/signup

2. Add your phone number to Twitter by following the instructions at: http://help.twitter.com/forums/10711/entries/14589 You will not receive texts from Twitter unless you elect to receive them for a particular user by turning Device Updates On (see Step 3-5)

3. Go to http://twitter.com/dmschaffner

4. Click on "Device Updates"

5. Click the "On" radio button

On Monday morning,

6. Go to http://twitter.com/dmschaffner

7. Click on "Device Updates"

8. Click the "Off" radio button

4. Facebook – Since my Twitter updates get pushed to Facebook automagically, you will see updates there too!

Some have asked how long I think it will take me, and honestly, I have no idea. Seriously. I would love to tell you to tune into a general range of time to watch the finishing chute, but I have no idea. But if you catch any of my splits, it should give you a better idea on Sunday!

And lastly, a big thank you to all of you for all of your support in so many ways…. I really could not even attempt this process without you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Here we go!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ironman Coeur d'Alene: T- 1 Day

Today, I really only had one goal...... get in the water and swim. As you know, cold water and I do NOT get along well..especially in race conditions. Last year's water temps barely squeeked up to 59 degrees before the race start. Yes, that's what I said....Fifty-nine degrees.

HELLO!! I am not designed for that type of water activity. No way, no how. Yet somehow, I agreed to do this thing this year....but I knew that the cold water temps (coupled with 2,500 people starting swimming at the same time!) was going to be my biggest challenge of the race.

Throughout the 6 months of training, I've been tackling this challenge head on. I started swimming in the Quarry back in February when it was a blistering 60 degrees (has steadily been warming all spring) and then when the water got too warm (read greater than 68 degrees), I switched my long swims to Barton Springs, where the water is always 68.

I even braved a swim (albeit brief) at the endless river/low water crossing at Mansfied Dam!! Thank you very much. All preparing me for Sunday's swim in good ol' Lake Coeur d'Alene.

FORTUNATELY, there wasn't a crazy late snowfall this year like they had last year and the water temps have been reasonable (by here standards) and generally rising the closer we get to race day!

Today was to be the first moment of truth...we had a team swim schedule for 0730. Early recon had the water at 64. "64?" I thought. "I can do 64. Hell, I've done 60! I can do this, I CAN do this."

We donned our wetsuits and headed down the beach to the swim start.



I waded in an hung about where the water was waist deep, just letting my feet get acclimated and have some water seep in through the zipper to get the body adjusted as well. Part of my usual cold water routine.

The fast and veteran Ironmen of the group simply waded in and took off swimming! I was like, wow! impressive! Then there was another smaller group of a little more cautious folks getting ready to go in. This was to be my group. They look around at each other, discussed how much of the course to swim this morning...and then before I knew it, they were taking off!

Shit! Go, D, GO. I pushed off, submerged into the water, took one stroke and came up panicky!! Yikes...64 degrees or not, that's still cold!!! I could feel my heart rate spiking with fear..panic.

Calm down, D. But my group is swimming away!! I put my face in the water again, took another stroke..came up panicky again! SHIT!

Bang, bang, bang! My heart was thumping against the wetsuit that was trying to keep it warm. SHIT, SHIT, SHIT!!!

Ok, D. You can do this. Don't worry about them. Take your time. Go when you are ready. Just relax.

I treaded water for a brief moment. Took some calming breaths. Held my breath and submerged my face a little. See...not so bad. Just take your time. Do YOUR thing. This will be YOUR race...not theirs. DO. YOUR. THING.

So, I waited another moment. Did a breakstroke and got my whole face under. Came back up. Heart rate still a little high. Another stroke. Came back up. Heart rate was slowing. Ok. Good. Another...just like that. Did another breast stroke. Came back up. Heart rate back to normal. Ok. Good.

Now you're ready, D. Right. Ok. Let's swim.

And with that, I took off at a nice, easy pace...breathing every two strokes to make sure I was exchanging plenty of oxygen and remaining calm. The water was a little choppy, but I soon settled into a gentle rhythm and timed my strokes with the ebb and flow of the water.

HEY! I'm swimming! What do you know!!! A HUGE wave of relief went through me and I just started focusing on swimming. Touch, Pull, Roll. Touch, Pull, Roll. Grab some water, push it down the leg. Glide. Glide.

I only swam about a half a mile in total, but today wasn't about the distance. It was about getting in and swimming. And even though I had a little panic session, I was able to right the ship and get sailing. And for THAT I feel really pumped!!!

But a big lesson I reminded myself of is that, this is MY Ironman. Not someone else's. I need to stick to MY race plan, MY race strategy and MY race paces. I can't get caught up in what other people are doing. Even though I'm planning to start with a small group of similarly-paced swimmers....if they dive in and start going before I'm ready...I'm going to let them go. I know I'll miss out on the benefits of drafting, but speed is NOT in my swim plan. Calm, cool, collected, relaxed swimming is. And if that means I give everyone else a 2 (or more!) minute head start in the water...then so be it.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to have another practice swim. Many folks are opting out. I'm not. This is MY plan to prepare myself for MY race. I'm gonna do it MY way. Wish me luck!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tracking Me at Ironman CdA

Ok People…. I am here and ready or not, this race is going to happen on Sunday!!!! EEEEEEEEKKKKKKK!

The race starts Sunday morning (west coast time zone) at 7:00am for us non-professionals. So that’s 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running..on Sunday. Just. Sunday.

You can track me a couple ways:

1. http://ironman.com/ironmanlive - This (should) have the live video feed of the day, plus you can search for me to get my splits. I’m number 2289.
2. http://ironplan.net/events/ironman-couer-d-alene-2009/ - One of our teammates set this up and it will be tracking results for our entire team!
3. Twitter – Follow me on twitter, I’m dmschaffner . Twitter will be broadcasting my splits whenever they get recorded. So if you want them real-time pushed to your phone or something, here are the instructions to make that work:

WARNING: turn on the device updates on Friday/Saturday and turn them off on
Monday morning. Else, you will receive all tweets from the athlete!
1. Sign up for twitter at: https://twitter.com/signup
2. Add your phone number to Twitter by following the instructions at: http://help.twitter.com/forums/10711/entries/14589 You
will not receive texts from Twitter unless you elect to receive them for a
particular user by turning Device Updates On (see Step 3-5)
3. Go to http://twitter.com/dmschaffner
4. Click on "Device Updates"
5. Click the "On" radio button

On
Monday morning,
6. Go to http://twitter.com/dmschaffner

7. Click on "Device Updates"
8. Click the "Off" radio button


4. Facebook – Since my Twitter updates get pushed to Facebook automagically, you will see updates there too!

Some have asked how long I think it will take me, and honestly, I have no idea. Seriously. I would love to tell you to tune into a general range of time to watch the finishing chute, but I have no idea. But if you catch any of my splits, it should give you a better idea on Sunday!

And lastly, a big thank you to all of you for all of your support in so many ways…. I really could not even attempt this process without you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Here we go!

Ironman Coeur d'Alene: T-2 days


Holy smokes! What an amazing location for an amazing event! I can't believe it is finally here!!!
I've been training since January 7th and now it is finally..FINALLY (yet somehow quickly) here!

After a 2-hour nap, that was supposed to be last night's sleep (since it took me that long to finally finish packing....plus I had a special project I HAD to take care of before I left..), the first half of the day was spent traveling to Idaho. Nice and uneventful. Just like I like it.


Then headed out to Athlete's Village and did the formal check in thingy. And got THIS:


I'm so freaking excited!!!! :)

Tomorrow, we head out with the team for a morning swim in the lake. Water temps are supposed to be around 64 degrees. BBBRRRRR!!! But it could be a lot worse. Think warm thoughts for me!!!!!
GO T3 Blue!

Monday, May 11, 2009

A short story: The Rookie Race Report

Say what you want about the Texas Ski Ranch, but I LOVE doing races out there. Yes, the water is hot. And yes, the water is uber-murky and muddy. (I'm sure the swim exit photos are going to be ghastly). But gosh darn it, I love that course. And as always, the good folks at Jack & Adam's put on an AWESOME event!!!

The Rookie also holds a special place in my heart because it was my first tri...EVER! The first time I rode it, I was on a hybrid...that I bought in college...in 1988. That's right. (Have a pic of that somewhere, but can't seem to find it).

And now I ride the Rookie like this:


(machine by Jack, engine by T3)
I had a little anxiety going into the race....I've been going steady and long since..well, last fall really...nothing short and fast. (yea, yea...that's what she said...). I mean I can count the amount of quality track on one hand. And that means, no fastness. The 2-mile run off the bike was sure to be...uh....interesting at best. The Rookie is fun...but let's face it...it's an all out sprint for an hour. RED. LINE. BABY.
I arrive in transition and check out the 4 racks(!) for my age group. Damn, it just doesn't get any easier. I see the usual suspects, make some mental notes of where their bikes are (what? like you don't do that...) and proceed to set up my transition area.
I had plenty of time, so I decided a warm up jog might be in order. With this short of distance, you don't really have any runway to get things going during the race...you just have to GO! So, I'm jogging out the run course, have to shinny through the chain at the closed gate just after Pat Evoe shinnied through and thought it just wasn't right that I outweigh him. I just did a little out and back to get the blood flowing...but came back completely drenched! It was going to be hot and humid this day people. Got back to transition and popped two thermolytes pronto.
Went through my traditional 3 bathroom pit stops before my wave went off, plopped myself in my usual start in the swim line up (front row, outside edge) where I can keep a good look at everybody while I breathe to the left. Said a quick prayer as Logan counted us down and BANG! we were off!!!
I took off strong, not wanting to get caught up in the masses and hung with the lead girls for a bit....but damn they were moving! I tried to stay on Esther's feet, but she dropped me after about 150. (That girl is fast people.) I was already encountering folks from the wave ahead at the turn around and knew I was going to have to do a lot of sighting...not to keep straight but to avoid traffic jams. At one point, I had to slide through a sliver of open water with a backstroker on the right and a breast stroker on the left...I thought for sure I was going to get whacked..but somehow managed to scoot through unscathed!
I couldn't hang on to the lead group, but managed to come out of the water just behind them.....as I was nearing the AWESOME T3 Swim exit shoot, I counted yellow swim caps....1,2,3,4,5 I think. Ok, got some work to do, people. Scooted past one on my way into transition. One down, 4 to go.
Was pulling my bike of the rack heading out of transition as Ms. Lord was getting to her bike. Oh Lord her she comes after me. GO, GO, GO!!! I tippy toed in my cycling shoes through transition as fast as I could and hopped on my bike and got moving. I wasn't sure who the other girls were, but I knew Esther was out there. She's a super fast swimmer and an awesome cyclist, it was going to be tough finding her on the bike...especially since I only had 11 miles to do it. And I could already feel Tracy coming up behind me.
Quickly spun up that first crazy hill after transition, and got to work. Thought about keeping my cadence high and my heels low. I was moving pretty good through the nice, shady lane when a fellow age grouper passed me from behind. Dammit! Back to 5th again. I picked up the pace and hung with her. She was a powerful rider and I was having to work really, really hard. But it felt good.
We kept hammering away and came up on Darcy, who had also beaten me out of the water. As we passed her, you could Darcy muttering something like, Dammit. And then next thing you know, she picked it up and the three of us were hammering along. We'd trade spots at the front, one person passing, the next person passing...all trying to stay legal, but not get too far away from each other.
We came up on Esther and she jumped in the mix too!
We traded positions back and forth along the flats and I thought to myself....ok, clearly these girls are strong. Power cyclists for sure. But....I'm a goat. If I can just hang here until the hills, then I'll make my move.
So I quit trying to battle for the lead and just sat back, biding my time, keeping an appropriate distance, but not losing sight of them, letting them beat each other up...and saving mine up. I know this course like the back of my hand. Just wait until we turn the corner to the back side, ladies...those rollers are no joke and they've got my name written all over them.
I waited....and we turned....and I started picking them off on the uphills...one hill, one rider....another hill, another rider....another hill, another rider. By the time we made the next right turn off the hill section, they were all behind me.....(save Karrn who apparently was in first the whole time, but I never ever saw her...she's that fast). If you want me ladies, you are going to have to come get me.
We were on the little rollers getting ready to turn right onto I-35...which is power cyclists heaven. I knew they would be coming for me, so I got as aero as I could and turned the cranks as hard and as fast as I could. Move it, D. Here they come. Move it, MOVE IT!
I hustled into transition and glanced at the racks in my age group. Just one bike! Sweet!!!!
But I knew the run was going to be challenging. I pretty much blew whatever I had on the bike and Mo warned me that my run legs might not be back from the marathon yet. And boy, was he right. Man, it was painful. I could muster hardly any turnover, but I knew I had to hang on for just two miles.
Darcy came by me just after the turn around I think. Damn. Back to third. I tried to fire the legs, but they just wouldn't go. No offense left...just defense.
The nice thing about an out and back is once you make the turn, you get to see everyone who's coming after you. I checked my watch at the turn to so I could get a guestimate at how close the next age grouper was...I saw Michelle and Tracy...they were moving fast, closing in and looking strong.
Shit. I'm in trouble people!
I tried to find another gear to get it moving...c'mon D...just one mile, you can do it. And picked it up just a little. I kept focused on my form, tried to be efficient as possible and keep moving forward.
Chugged up that last hill before turning back into the park, took a quick glance behind me, didn't see anyone *right* behind me, but figured I'd better pick up just in case they start hammering from the top of the hill. Didn't want to be taken by surprise in the last 200 meters!!
Lumbered on into the finish chute (with Chrissie asking why I was running marathon pace...this was a sprint!)....thankful and relieved to have finished!
Ended up holding onto 3rd place! Didn't PR overall, but had my best bike split Ever!!!
Here are my stats:
Dionn Schaffner Austin, TX Age Group F 35-39 Gun Time: 01:00:14 Chip Time: 01:00:14 Class Position: 3


Overall Place: 102
Class Position: 3 (WOOT!)

Swim: 06:24 pace: 2:08/M
T1: 01:42
Bike: 34:30 pace: 19.5mph (YAY!)
T2: 00:56
Run: 16:40 pace: 8:20/M (UGH.)
And, so I don't hear it from Mike, here's my hardware!